What better day of the year to celebrate 3.14 than on March 14? Today we celebrate the number pi (π), a mathematical constant which we use to calculate the area and circumference of a circle. Pi represents the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. But don’t let the technical jargon fool you; pi knows how to have fun. To prove it, we made a brand new Circles Video!
- Pi Day Domino Spiral – A time-lapse video of a very patient pi enthusiast creating a spiral of Dominos showcasing the symbol π
- What Pi Sounds Like – A musical interpretation of pi
And without further ado, here are…
6 Fun Lesson Ideas for Pi Day
1. Write a Pi Poem
Pi isn’t just for math class anymore! Get creative by having students write a Pi Ratio Poem. Students will write a 10-word poem across the center (diameter) of the circle. Then they can calculate their “word circumference” (hint: it’s 10 x π) and write that number of words around the outside of the circle.
For round two, students can choose their own number of words for the diameter and calculate a new circumference. At last, poetry and geometry unite!
2. Explore the Planets
Begin by exploring our very own Earth. Log on to Google Maps and have students scour maps of your hometown for circles (tops of water towers, roundabouts, swimming pools). Using the key, have students calculate the circumferences and areas of the circles.
Travel further into the universe by calculating the circumferences or areas of our neighboring planets. Visit NASA’s website to research each planet’s ratio.
3. Pi Raps
Use our Writing Academic Rhymes lessons and have your students write a mnemonic rap to memorize at least 20 digits of pi. How many digits can they fit into their song? Visit piday.org to view the first million digits. Students can use our free instrumental beats to back up their rhymes!
4. The History of Pi
5. Write a Pi Word Problem
Stretch students’ imaginations by having them write outlandish word problems involving pi. Here is an example:
Two frogs were kidnapped by an evil witch. To escape her dark cavern, they will have to dig a hole with a big enough area to fit their whole froggy bodies. If they curl themselves up, the frogs are 4 inches long, so the hole’s area will have to measure 4 inches. What should the radius of their hole be?
6. What’s Your Spin Space?
How much area do we need to spin in a full circle with our arms extended? Get students up and moving by having them figure out their spin space. Find the spin space’s diameter by having each student measure his or her wingspan, fingertip to fingertip. Divide that number by 2 to find the radius. Then use a=πr2 to find the area of each student’s spin space.
7. Bake a Pi Pie
Have students bake and decorate their own pi-themed pies! They can find their own recipes, or use this simple recipe for Mini Berry Pies. At last, homework we can eat.